UCLA Bruins vs. Arizona Wildcats Pick ATS 9/28/19
UCLA Bruins (1-3 SU, 1-3 ATS) vs. Arizona Wildcats (2-1 SU, 1-2 ATS)
College Football Week 5
Date and Time: Saturday, September 28, 2019 at 10:30PM EDT
Where: Arizona Stadium Tucson, Arizona
Point Spread: UCLA +7.5/ARIZ -7.5 (Bet365)(Non USA Only)
Over/Under Total: 71.5
The UCLA Bruins come to Tucson for a Pac-12 showdown with the Arizona Wildcats on Saturday at Arizona Stadium. For Arizona, it’s been a strange start to the season, as they are just now opening their conference schedule. They lost in week one to Hawaii, returning two weeks later to beat NAU, followed by a win over Texas Tech. Two weeks later and here they are, at home against the Bruins. While the Wildcats were off last week, UCLA was making history, suddenly springing to life and scoring 50 second-half points to stun a ranked Washington State in Pullman, 67-63. Not that it matters much now, but UCLA managed to beat Arizona last season, 31-30, with some of the guys who had a good game back this season. Who can get the job done this week?
What Got into UCLA?
The Bruins’ unlikely comeback-win last week was endemic of what it’s like betting on Pac-12 football. A UCLA team that had scored 14 points in each of their first three games wasn’t doing too bad on offense, but found themselves down 35-17 at the half. Then they exploded. Quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson suddenly went wild, leading the team to a Tecmo Bowl session in the second half. And for a team that couldn’t get much right in the first three weeks of the season to do that was literally insane and it blew the roof off the place.
The Bruins were able to survive nine TD passes from Washington St. quarterback Anthony Gordon and still get the win. Thompson-Robinson hung in there and outlegged Gordon in the track meet, throwing for 507, with five TD passes, and running in two more. What a weird time to explode, against a ranked team on the road. Against Cincinnati, San Diego State, and Oklahoma, the offense could barely execute. To see them actually perform in explosive and clutch fashion was something to behold and maybe it will open up the floodgates. Finally, the UCLA offense started to look like what beleaguered head coach Chip Kelly had in mind when he came to LA to become the new head coach.
Where Does Arizona Stand?
Heading into week five, that’s a hard question to answer and that in itself is bizarre. Already, the Wildcats have had two weeks off and haven’t played in conference yet. A week one loss to Hawaii didn’t paint them in a favorable light and 65-41 and 28-14 wins over Northern Arizona and Texas Tech revealed little about where this team really stands. Senior Khalil Tate, in his third year as a starter, is back. His performance through three games has been lukewarm. And while being at home against the UCLA defense would appear to be a good day to kick it into high gear, he’ll likely need to hit notes he hasn’t hit this season yet.
Arizona’s Room for Daylight
It feels wrong calling out UCLA after doing what they did on Saturday night. But they really can’t stop a thing. Allowing nine TDs through the air would attest to that, as their secondary is simply not up to conference standards. They had no answers for Oklahoma and even fewer against Washington State. Tate isn’t a guy who is given to having huge aerial performances, though. Sure, he’ll put up some numbers from time to time. But he throws picks and is just not a marvel aerially. The team’s leading rusher, he’s probably better as a runner than a true passer, meaning they might not be able to fully take advantage of this glaring UCLA weakness. Still, with Tayvian Cunningham, Stanley Berryhill, and Jamarye Joiner, they have some able ball-catchers who should have good days. And Tate and backs Gary Brightwell, JJ Taylor, and Bam Smith should have some success against a UCLA run-defense that isn’t a ton better than its pass-defense.
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New Life for the UCLA Offense?
Talk about a coming-out party. Finally, we saw a Chip Kelly offense manifest. DTR finally had the kind of game that makes you think he’s more than a space-filler in this offense. They even ran the ball well with two TDs from the quarterback and some good runs from Joshua Kelley. Receivers Demetric Felton and Chase Cota were both huge on the day. But a one-off does not an offense make. Something tells me they’ll face stiffer resistance this week. Their last half of football produced 50 points, but how often do you see offenses fall flat after putting up freakish amounts of points? Will there be a coming down to earth as the Bruins face their second straight road conference game?
Still, the Arizona defense hasn’t distinguished itself this season. Their secondary has been almost as bad as UCLA’s. Opposing quarterbacks are feasting on this Arizona defense—a bad sign before they’ve even entered conference play where they’re not likely to find a ton of relief. When Hawaii quarterback Cole McDonald throws for 378 yards and Northern Arizona quarterback Case Cookus puts up 373 yards against you, there’s a problem. A good remedy for that wouldn’t appear to be facing an offense coming off a 50-point second half.
Take the Road Underdog
The Bruins undoubtedly have issues. Their massive output on Saturday doesn’t mask the issues they’ve had on offense, nor does it guarantee they won’t resurface in this tricky road-spot. It’s just that when one considers laying the number on Arizona, one thinks to the caliber of the teams that have been able to flourish against their defense so far this season. The Wildcats are rested, while the Bruins are coming off a taxing game. This is certainly a spot where a very imperfect Bruins team can fall flat. But I see the Wildcats as being imperfect enough in their own right to make them not unappealing in this spot laying this kind of spread. I’ll take the Bruins.
Loot’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I’m betting on the UCLA Bruins plus 7.5 points. Bet this game and tomorrow’s NFL for FREE by taking advantage of a 100% REAL CASH deposit bonus at GTBets!
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